In some parts of the country, any time of the year is a good time for a picnic.
In most locales, however, not much of the picnic season remains. That means it’s time to gather the wicker basket, red-and-white checkerboard tablecloth, cooler, plastic utensils and sun block, and start planning a trip to your favorite park, beach or other outdoor destination.
And if your picnic place allows you to consume alcohol, then it’s also time to set aside a few bottles of wine.
Which brings up the question: What kind of wine should you pack?
Let’s begin with what you probably shouldn’t bring. Those would be wines that we refer to as “big red monsters.” Red wines, in general, are not the best for warm-weather occasions, as the lofty air temperature only adds to the perceived “heat” of the wine’s relatively high alcohol level.
While it’s true that we often recommend Zinfandel for backyard barbecues, the reason that works is because you can keep the wine bottle inside the house, away from the rays of the sun. (We also recommend chilling down Zin a bit on such occasions.)
For a picnic, during which wine is going to be exposed to warm or hot temps for an extended period, white varieties are your best bet. And the cooler or ice chest is your best friend.
Here are eight wines to consider packing for your next picnic…
1. Sauvignon Blanc. Light and refreshing, and a great choice if you’re bringing along chilled shellfish.
2. Chenin Blanc. A very versatile variety that complements almost all picnic fare.
3. Viognier. Toss some greens, fold in some peach slices and nuts, top with a creamy dressing and enjoy.
4. Riesling. We love the fruit-forward renditions with blueberry coffee cake, or peaches topped with a dollop of whipped cream.
5. Gewurztraminer. Picking up some spicy Chinese or Tex-Mex food for the picnic? Then this is the wine to buy.
6. Muscat Canelli. Another good choice with Chinese fare, particularly orange chicken.
7. Chardonnay. Great with fried chicken or fried… anything.
8. Sparkling wine. You can’t go wrong with a Blanc de Blancs – the only wine that pairs well with an egg salad sandwich.